Monthly Archives: March 2014

The OTS & the Budget

John WhitingphoneAs Budget-watchers will have spotted, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) made a mark on this Budget and we have the opportunity to do more in the future with our Competitiveness project.

We published in January significant reports on Partnerships and Employee Benefits & Expenses and the Budget contained the Chancellor’s formal response to our various recommendations. It is pleasing that most of these are going to be taken forward and we had a fuller response from David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-from-exchequer-secretary-to-ots-response-to-partnerships-and-employee-benefits-reviews).

It’s not just these recent reports that are being taken forward. In last year’s Pensioners’ report, we recommended abolishing the 10% savings rate of income tax with a pragmatic increase in ISA amounts to compensate. The Chancellor’s announcement achieves most of the practical simplification we were after and there’s an ISA increase as well!

Our favourite topic of reforming NICs bore some fruit with the taking forward of collecting Class 2 NICs via self assessment. The OTS report on ‘unapproved’ share schemes has led to a number of measures in FB 2014. Two of our more radical proposals – on the timing of the tax charge and on an ‘employee shareholding vehicle’ – are to be taken forward by way of a discussion document.

As always, we need to do more and one of the documents published with the Budget is our paper on the Competitiveness project. Do have a look at our paper (see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/competitiveness-of-uk-tax-administration-review). The Chancellor wants our ideas on improving the competitiveness of the UK’s tax administration and we welcome all input. What would make business taxes – corporation tax, PAYE/NIC, VAT and the rest – more efficient? If you could suggest one change to improve the competitiveness of the UK tax administration, what would it be? Let us know at competitiveness@ots.gsi.gov.uk.

John Whiting, OTS Tax Director

OTS visit to local businesses in Devon and the South West

The OTS visited Devon and the South West last week to ask local businesses for their views on improving the UK tax administration.T

We kicked off the tour in Newton Abbot with Westaways Sausages, where we met the MD, Charles Baughan, who accompanied the Prime Minister on a recent trade mission to China.  We went on to speak to the Una Group in Plymouth, a diversified business that embraces manufacturing, business services and property businesses.  We then travelled up the M4 to visit Thatcher’s Cider, and were given a tour of the very modern factory by the Chairman, John Thatcher.

We heard a lot about where the tax system is relatively easy (payroll taxes and VAT) and where it is more complicated (corporation tax).  We were really impressed with the drive and enthusiasm of everybody we met, and came away with some really practical ideas on how to improve the competitiveness of the UK tax administration.  We will set out some of these ideas in a paper shortly.